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Honda Civic Hybrid Catalytic Converter Failures

kchybridkchybrid Posts: 18
Would like to hear from any and all who believe they have had a premature failure of the catalytic coverter on a 2003-2005 Civic Hybrid. Please indicate mileage when this occurred. Also interested in when [or if] you had the Recall done for the ECM Update. Please indicate mileage reading when you had recall done. I believe the two issues may be directly related.


  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,786
    Did your catalytic converter fail? I think it is covered by the hybrid warranty, for a longer period than the standard warranty, because it is part of the emissions systems.
  • According to the dealers' diagnosis of the MIL / DTC code - the converter needs to be replaced. It is not covered under warranty once you reach 80,000 miles. In fact the Honda Care Vehicle Service Contract [extended warranty] which I purchased with the car [for big $$] does NOT cover it either.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,786
    "According to the dealers' diagnosis of the MIL / DTC code - the converter needs to be replaced. It is not covered under warranty once you reach 80,000 miles."

    Not sure which state you live in, or what the warranties were when you purchased. On new (2005 and later) hybrids, the CARB states have an 10 year, 150K warranty on emissions systems for the hybrid. I had thought that the other states were 8 years and 120K, but I'm not exactly sure.

    As I said, I'm not sure what model year this warranty went into effect, or which state you live in.
  • Model year is 2003. State is Missouri.
  • 2003 Civic Hybrid Std Warranty 3/36k
    2003 Civic Hybrid Emmisions Warraty 8/80k (Missouri)
    2003 Honda Care Warranty 5/100k - does not cover Catalytic Converter.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,786
    Sorry to hear that, the newer ones seem to come with 100K for non CARB states, 150K for CARB states.
  • hchybridhchybrid Posts: 12

    I just got hit with this same thing yesterday here in Maryland - 8 years or 80k miles. Fortunately I have 55K miles so I'm still inside on that.

    Does anyone know what causes the failure? I had the fuel mixture recall change done - which supposededly was because mixture was too thin for catalytic converter - but I'd already driven 25K before that.

    I was going to look at the car plan for the underside to see if road hazard damage may be a culprit?
  • I have a 2003 hybrid with the same problems. Bought it preowned in 05 with 51K on it. In Dec 06 the engine light came (90K) on and the dealer said the Cat had failed. I called Honda America after I found out that they had issued a bulletin that computer problems could cause premature failure. My arguement was the computer misadjustment was not corrected until the car had 50k miles on it and that caused my Cat to fail. After some negotiation they agreed to provided the CAT if I paid labor. Now I have 118K and the light is on again. Independent shop analysis showed the Cat was not properly processing NOX. Now the dealer is saying the second Cat was warrentied for 12 months or 12K miles (which I have exceeded) So I am about to send them another letter. Funny thing is the car is running great. A CAT should last longer than 18K miles. I sorta think it is the computer setting.
  • Kirk,

    You may want to have the dealer apply the firmware computer fixes that Honda have released recently.

    With mine - they applied those - and the maintenance light went away.

    They did mention the computer fix applies to NOX levels control...

    Fingers crossed that's all you need.
  • I have a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid, with 98000 miles on it now and the check engine lights have been on and off periodically necessitating an upgrade or replacement. About 3 months ago we had the software updates for Catalytic converter updated. About 2 months ago I had the lights come on and it was diagnosed as as OXYGEN SENSOR failure, which was since replaced; However, a month later the check engine lights came on again and now the diagnosis is that catalytic converter needs to be replaced.....

    Could this be because of the software updates? Are there any other options other than spending the money to change to Catalytic converter? I live in NJ and am told by the dealer that warranty is only for 80000 miles.
  • stan29stan29 Posts: 13
    At 92K miles, the engine light came on and was diagnosed as cat. con. failure. Never had any software updates. Would the updates help, hinder or cure this problem??? We have been quoted a discounted price of $900. for parts and labor. We have no alternative but to fix the car. Even though we had purchased the Honda Care Extended warranty when we bought the car, the warranty ends at 80K miles for the cat. converter.
    At 62K miles, the transmission had to be replaced, but at least that fell under the extended warranty. These are two major problems that shouldn't have happened.
    We once owned an 1988 Honda Accord LXI and loved it dearly for 11 years. Because of that car, we totally trusted the Honda name, but no longer. There should have been a re-call on the hybrid's catalytic converter. Broke and broken Hearted.
  • stan29stan29 Posts: 13
    I feel like DUH !!!! What is the ECM update?????? I posted my experience on #12.
  • jgnjjgnj Posts: 1
    I also live in NJ and have a 2003 Civic Hybrid with 98K miles. Around 90K miles the check engine light stayed on. After getting the software update it came on again twice and stayed on each time. I brought it back in and was told that the catalytic converter needed to be replaced for $1100. I asked the dealer to re-check this as the notice for the update said that this could be a mistaken error code. The dealer called back and said that after speaking with Honda regional they would replace it for labor only - $90. Does it really need to be replaced or is it just a software glitch? I don't know. JG
  • For $90 I'd take that solution they are offering!

    I make that about 3 tank fulls of gas - equivalent price.

    Then you are covered for another xx,000 miles - however long they warranty that new cat' for.
  • Take the new converter. It needs to be replaced due to the fact that the ECM was originally improperly programmed resulting in premature failure of the catalytic converter. The ECM update merely corrects the programming of the fuel oxygen mixture (so your new converter will not suffer the same fate).
  • stan29stan29 Posts: 13
    What he said--take the converter. Honda dealer quoted me the same $1100. I read on this forum that one person contacted his regional Honda office, and they offered the same labor only deal. So I merely suggested to my service writer that I would call Honda Reg. and then the dealer wouldn't have to pay for the parts. You would have thought I had threatened to blow the place up. They said they would call HR and quickly got me the same labor deal(although our labor was a little higher). By the way, since you live in NJ, do you know what's different about bear hunting there. I understand they make the bear dig a hole and then they shoot him. Hope you have a sense of humor. Good luck with the hybrid. We love ours and will drive it til it drops.
  • Wife had the converter changed at 78K and it was done under warranty. The engine light came on again and stayed on at 108K and the dealer charged her $135 to reprogram the computer cause it was bad but since it was out of warranty she would have to pay. 1 week later I got a recall for ECM reprogram from Honda and called Honda America about paying $135 and they reimbursed the money. Now if I can only get them to do something about the transmission (but that's another thread)
  • juliofjuliof Posts: 2
    My light was on with a p0420 as tested in January of 2008 by the local Honda dealership in Austin, Texas. They quoted me what would have been $3000.00 with tax to replace the catalytic converters. My ecm had been updated at about 100K miles, with the cats being replaced at about 86K miles as a result of an earlier episode of the same.

    I then took the 2003 Hybrid to a respected local shop, where they reset the codes and told me to drive for about 10 miles and return, to be sure of the codes being returned per Honda's instructions.

    The light came back on at about 10 miles, and I did not return immediately, but drove home. The next day, the light was OFF.

    Now, the light had come on, then it was off the next day. I took it in for inspection at a third service facility, and it passed with flying colors. The light has still not come on, after 2000+ miles and counting.

    Honda continues to rip off the American consumer with this issue, and I hope the proper authorities make Honda compensate everyone who has had to deal with this :lemon: ! Compensation for new catalytic converters, and compensation for our time which has been wasted due to Honda's generation of erroneous diagnostic codes which has cost the driving public thousands, if not millions of dollars, in wasted time and unnecessary repairs.
  • ldematldemat Posts: 1
    Very interested in your assessment for 2003 Honda civic hybrid. ECM update performed at 38,674 miles (Oct 2005) ("to prevent catalyst DTC P0420 and VPS P1021," and MCM update to prevent IMA battery, under Honda Recall notice).

    Converter failure (code P1420-nox adsorptive cat system efficiency below threshold) somewhere between 79850 and 80105 miles (Mar 2007). Have appointment Thursday and intend to present the dealer with a case that it actually failed before warranty expired, and I continued to drive for 3 days with the light on, as the manual indicated......
  • I've had three -- count 'em, three -- catalytic converters replaced on my 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid.

    Last time, they blamed a software problem.

    The Check Engine light has just blinked on at 98,500 miles, so I'll be interested to see if my dealer does the right thing and replaces it for free.
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